Bairam Khan also Bayram Khan (c. 1501 – c. 31 January 1561)
was an important military commander, later commander-in-chief of the
Mughal army, a powerful statesman and regent at the court of the
Humayun and Akbar. He was also guardian, chief
mentor, adviser, teacher and the most trusted ally of Akbar.
Humayun honored him as Khan-i-Khanan, which means "King of Kings".
Bairam was originally called Bairam "Beg", but later became honored as
'Kha' or Khan.
Bairam Khan was an aggressive general who was determined to restore
Mughal authority in India.
1 Early life and ancestors
2 Military service
3 Later years
6 Further reading
Early life and ancestors
Bairam Khan was born in the region of
Badakhshan in Central Asia, and
belonged to the Baharlu Turkoman clan of the Kara Koyunlu
Kara Koyunlu had ruled Western
decades before being overthrown by their
Ak Koyunlu rivals. Bairam
Khan's father Seyfali beg Baharlu and grandfather Janali beg Baharlu
had been part of Babur's service. His great-grandfather was Pirali
beg Baharlu, a brother to Babur's wife Pasha Begum[non-primary
source needed] and son-in-law of Qara Iskander.[unreliable
Bairam entered Babur's service at the age of 16 and played an active
role in the early Mughal conquests of India.
Bairam Khan later
contributed greatly to the establishment of the
Mughal empire under
Humayun when he was entrusted with the position of muhardar (keeper of
the seals) and took part in military campaigns in Benares,
Gujarat. He accompanied
Humayun during his exile in
Kandahar before serving as its governor for nine years.
In 1556, he played a leading role as a commander in Humayun's
reconquest of Hindustan.
Following Humayun's death in 1556,
Bairam Khan was appointed regent
over the young monarch Akbar. As regent, he consolidated Mughal
authority in northern
India and most notably led the Mughal forces at
the Second Battle of Panipat, which was fought between
Akbar and Hemu
in November 1556.
Bairam Khan was a
Shia Muslim and was disliked by the
nobles. Although a Shia, he attended Friday services in the mosque
of a noted
Sufi and was also responsible for Shah Gada, the son of
Sikandar Lodi's court poet Jamali Kanboh, becoming sadr-as-sudr in the
Mughal Empire after Humayun's return to Delhi in 1555.
Gazetteer of Ulwur states:
Soon after Babar's death, his successor, Humayun, was supplemented by
Sher Shah in 1540 A.D., later followed by Islam Shah in 1545 A.D.
During the reign of the latter, a battle was fought and lost by the
Emperor's troops at Firozpur Jhirka in Mewat, on which, however, Islam
Shah did not lose his hold. Adil Shah, the third of the Pathan
interlopers, who succeeded in A.D. 1552, had to contend for the Empire
with the returned Humayun.
In these struggles for the restoration of Babar's dynasty Khanzadas
apparently do not figure at all.
Humayun seems to have conciliated
them by marrying the elder daughter of Jamal Khan, the nephew of
Babar's opponent Hasan Khan, and having his minister, Bairam Khan,
marry Jamal's younger daughter.[better source needed]
Bairam's other wife was Salima Sultan Begum, who married
his death.[non-primary source needed]
Bairam Khan is assassinated by an Afghan at Patan, 1561, Akbarnama
Due to a difference in opinion with Bairam Khan,
Akbar told him that
he could either retire and stay in the palace or go on the hajj
pilgrimage to Mecca. On his way, his opponents goaded him to
rebel, but he was defeated in the Punjab.
Akbar gave him the
option of staying in the court as an advisor or continuing his
pilgrimage. Bairam chose the latter. While traveling through
Gujarat he was killed. It came about when
Bairam Khan was at
Sahastralinga Tank, a religious site near Anhilwad Patan, and was
recognised by Lohani Pashtun, an associate of Haji Khan Mewati. Upon
learning of this, Haji Khan planned his attack and killed Bairam Khan
in order to take revenge for Emperor Hemu's death. Haji Khan Mewati
Alwar and he had been a general of Hemu, and had been staying
at Patan,after his defeat by Akbar's forces and the capture of Alwar
Sarkar in 1559.
Bairam Khan died on 31 January 1561. However, his son and wife were
allowed to go free and were sent to Agra. Bairam Khan's wife, who was
also the cousin of Akbar, married
Akbar after Bairam Khan's death.
Bairam's son, Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, became an important part of
Akbar's administration and was one of the nav-ratans (nine gems) of
^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India : from Sultanat to the
Mughals (Revised ed.). New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications. p. 95.
^ "The Indian Historical Quarterly". 25-26. Calcutta Oriental Press.
1949: 318. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
^ "Bibliotheca Indica". 202. Baptist Mission Press. 1848. Retrieved 13
^ Cunningham, Sir Alexander (1885). Report of a Tour in Eastern
Rajputana in 1882-83. Office of the Superintendent of Government
Printing. p. 21.
^ (Begam), Gulbadan (1974). Humāyūn-nāma. Sange-Meel Publications
distributors, Islamic Book Service. p. 57.
^ a b editor, Alexander Mikaberidze, (2011). Conflict and Conquest in
the Islamic World a Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
p. 707. ISBN 9781598843378.
^ a b Thackston, Wheeler M. (2002) The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur,
Prince and Emperor The Modern Library, New York, p.xix,
^ Ahmed, Humayun,(2011) Badsha Namdar, National Library, Dhaka,
pp.200-233. ISBN 978-984-502-017-6
^ Schimmel 1980, p. 77.
^ Ansari 1989, pp. 3-5.
^ Baburnama (PDF). p. 251.
^ "Baharlı soyadının ilk daşıyıcısı". Azadliq (in
Azerbaijani). Retrieved 2017-05-06.
^ a b Ray, Sukumar & Beg, M.H.A. (1992) Bairam Khan, Mirza Beg,
1992, page 11, ISBN 969-8120-01-7
^ Ray, Sukumar & Beg, M.H.A. (1992) Bairam Khan, Mirza Beg, 1992,
page 27, ISBN 969-8120-01-7
^ Richards, John F. (1993). The Mughal Empire. The New Cambridge
India Location=Cambridge, England. Cambridge University
Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-521-25119-8.
^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1980). Handbuch der Orientalistik. Leiden:
Brill. p. 77. ISBN 9789004061170.
^ Full text of "The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume- XXI.
(pages 7 + 8)
^ Gulbadan, Begam; Beveridge, Annette S. (1972). The history of
Humayun = Humayun-nama. Begam Gulbadam. p. 278.
^ Chandra 2007, p. 227
^ Rahim-Abdul Rahim Khankhanan at Indiagrid Archived 13 July 2011 at
the Wayback Machine.
^ Bose, Mandakranta, ed. (2000). Faces of the Feminine in Ancient,
Medieval, and Modern India. New York: Oxford University Press.
p. 205. ISBN 978-0-19-512229-9.
Ansari, N.H. (1989). "BAYRAM KHAN". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV,
Fasc. 1. pp. 3–5.
Schimmel, Annemarie (1980). Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. BRILL.
Singh, Damodar (2003) Khan-i-Khanan Bairam Khan: a political biography
Janaki Prakashan, Patna, India, OCLC 54054058
Shashi, Shyam Singh (1999) Bairam Khan : soldier and
administrator (Series Encyclopaedia Indica volume 58) Anmol
Publishing, New Delhi, India, OCLC 247186335
Pandey, Ram Kishore (1998) Life and achievements of Muhammad Bairam
Khan Turkoman Prakash Book Depot, Bareilly, India, OCLC 5007653.
Ray, Sukumar (1992)
Bairam Khan Institute of Central and West Asian
Studies, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan, OCLC 29564939.
Agravāla, Sushamā Devī (1994) Bairamakhām̐ aura usake vaṃśaja
kā Mugala sāmrājya meṃ yogadāna Rāmānanda Vidyā Bhavana, New
Delhi, India, OCLC 34118191, in Hindi. (Contribution of Bairam
Khan, 1524?-1561, Mogul nobleman, to the Mogul Empire.)
Devīprasāda, Munśī (2001) Khānakhānā nāmā Pratibhā
Pratishṭhāna, New Delhi, India, ISBN 81-85827-89-3, in Hindi.
(On the life and achievements of Bairam Khan, 1524?-1561, ruler in the
Mogul Empire and Khane Khana Abdul Rahim Khan, 1556–1627, Braj
Humayun (2011) Badsha Namdar, Dhaka, Bangladesh,